Dejan Lovren is facing an extended spell on the sidelines after admitting Liverpool are “not happy” he has returned from the World Cup with an injury.
Lovren is suffering from a stomach complaint and has not yet taken part in full training after returning to Melwood last Monday having helped Croatia to the World Cup final in Russia.
The centre-back, who sat out Liverpool's final session on Saturday ahead of Sunday's Premier League opener at home to West Ham United, will visit a specialist in Holland to assess the problem, which forced him to play through the pain barrier during the World Cup final defeat to France last month.
And while Lovren would in any case not have been considered for selection against the Hammers, his lack of fitness will give Jurgen Klopp an unwanted headache with Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan already having their own injury struggles during pre-season.
“I cannot train at all because of stomach muscle issues,” said Lovren. “I am suffering a lot of pain and will see a specialist doctor in the Netherlands.
“When did I start to feel it? I felt it during the World Cup. I played with pain and those three games killed me. But who wouldn't play for Croatia at such a big tournament!
Mohamed Salah teases Dejan Lovren at Melwood this week - but the Croatian has yet to train properly (Image: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
“After the World Cup finished, the pain increased. I can't even sit in my car without feeling it and to get out of the car hurts like hell!
“I'd always grit my teeth and play for Croatia, but now I am paying the price. But no price is too high for what we achieved in Russia.”
Asked about Liverpool's reaction to the injury, Lovren – speaking to Croatian news outlet Sportske Novosti – said: “Of course, they are not happy.
“I haven’t trained since I returned from holiday. I can't.
“I'll reassess things after seeing the doctor in Netherlands. I have to deal with that for now and believe it will be okay.
“I hoped it would pass during my holiday, but it didn't. As I went for a swim, it hurt. I couldn't even rest normally.”
Lovren finished last season strongly and was Liverpool's man of the match in their Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.
And of his Anfield future, the 29-year-old said: “Where would I go from Liverpool? It is one of the biggest clubs in the world and I am too happy here to move.
“We have the team to challenge for the title. We have experience from last season, no key players left and we can be better than last season.
“In the Champions League final we lacked experience and it was the only reason Real Madrid won. Plus, of course, the luck they had, which is part of football – first with (Mohamed) Salah’s injury and then with the goals they scored.
“In the Premier League? Last season Man City made the difference at the start of the campaign and we must avoid losing points at an early stage this time.”